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Barr defends administration's efforts to overturn ObamaCare in court

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Judge's decision on Barr memo puts spotlight on secretive DOJ office Trump allies launching nonprofit focused on voter fraud MORE on Tuesday defended the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) decision to support a court ruling that would overturn ObamaCare.

The DOJ last month sided with a lower court ruling that ObamaCare is unconstitutional, going past its previous position that only part of the law should be struck down.

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Asked by Rep. Matt CartwrightMatthew (Matt) Alton CartwrightGarland emphasizes national security, civil rights in budget hearing House Democrats call for paid legal representation in immigration court Lawmakers brace for battles with colleagues as redistricting kicks off MORE (D-Pa.) why the DOJ would take such “dramatic and drastic action,” Barr replied: “Do you think it’s likely we’re going to prevail?”

“We are in litigation and we have to take a position. If you think it’s such an outrageous position, you have nothing to worry about. Let the courts do their job,” he said during a House Appropriations hearing Tuesday. 

A federal judge in Texas struck down ObamaCare in December, ruling that the law's individual mandate was unconstitutional.

The judge sided with Republican-led states that had filed a lawsuit against the health care policy, ruling that ObamaCare can’t stand without the penalty for not having insurance, which Congress repealed in 2017.

Last month, the DOJ said in a court filing that the judge, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor, came to the correct conclusion and said it would support the ruling when the decision is appealed.

The DOJ previously said that only the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be thrown out. The Justice Department, which typically defends federal laws in court, broke with precedent in refusing to defend ObamaCare, a move that Democrats call politically motivated.

A coalition of Democratic states, led by California, has been defending the law and is seeking an appeal of the decision.

On Tuesday, House Democrats sent letters to the DOJ, the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House demanding access to documents and information regarding the involvement of key administration officials in the decision not to defend the law.

Specifically, House Democrats, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse to consider anti-Asian hate crimes bill, protections for pregnant workers this month A historic moment to truly honor mothers Britney Spears to discuss conservatorship in court MORE (N.Y.) and Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsOvernight Health Care: AstraZeneca may have included outdated data on vaccine trial, officials say | Pelosi says drug pricing measure under discussion for infrastructure package | Biden administration extends special ObamaCare enrollment until August Pelosi: Drug pricing measure under discussion for infrastructure package Bottom line MORE (Md.), are asking for communications between White House officials regarding that decision and a list of officials involved in the decision. 

“The House is determined to get answers on the administration's nakedly political decision to rip affordable health care away from millions and millions of Americans," Nadler said Tuesday.